Single-car crash in Honolulu kills driver

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A 43-year-old Hawaii Kai man died Monday after his vehicle struck a concrete pillar in Honolulu.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office identified the motorist as Michael Kaneala Epstein. An autopsy is expected to be conducted Wednesday.

The crash occurred just before 5 a.m. near Market City Shopping Center. Police said a 1996 Toyota Camry operated by Epstein was traveling east on South King Street and making a left turn onto Kapiolani Boulevard when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle veered off the roadway and struck a concrete column.

Honolulu fire spokesman Capt. David Jenkins said an off-duty firefighter assisted Epstein before on-duty firefighters arrived.

Two employees at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the shopping center said they saw a man in a pickup truck pull over to help Epstein before Emergency Medical Services and firefighters arrived.

Paramedics transported Epstein in critical condition to The Queen’s Medical Center, where he later died. He was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

EMS spokeswoman Shayne Enright said Epstein was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Police said excessive speed was not involved. It wasn’t immediately clear whether alcohol or drugs were factors.

The investigation is ongoing.

Big Isle man charged with sexual assault

A 64-year-old Hilo man has been charged with allegedly sexually assaulting a 32-year-old mentally disabled woman in Puna.

Louis Sardis was charged Saturday with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. His preliminary hearing is set for Thursday. Sardis’ aggregate bail has been reduced to $49,000 from $68,000.

Shortly before 7 a.m. Friday, police responded to a report of suspicious activity inside a large van parked on Melekule Street in a residential neighborhood.

According to a preliminary police investigation, a resident walked up to the white van and saw a man later identified as Sardis sexually assaulting the woman.

Maj. Sam Thomas, Hawaii Police Department spokesman, said the witness called police.

Sardis is known to the victim.

Capt. Randall Medeiros of the Hawaii Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division declined to identify the organization or company the van belongs to.

Source: 911 in the 808